Thursday, October 25, 2012

A New Decade, An Old Decade: Friday Quick Takes

It has been quite a few weeks since I have felt like writing much of anything. There are a few reasons for that, the main one being that homeschooling is kicking my butt, but the other one being that I am having a hard time coming up with anything to write about that is not negative. I don't want to be a whiny baby. I don't want to be that person who looks at all she has been blessed with and can only see the things that are less than desirable. I don't want to be that person, but that's how I have been feeling, so I figured it was best to keep it to myself. An entertaining, funny, snarky, serious, insightful, or informative writer, I am not. Whining I can do, but no one wants to hear it, so quiet I have been.

This week, we have a had a few major milestones with our first-born child and these are the kind of positive things that I think are worthy of sharing with the world.

We celebrated Gabriel's 10th birthday on the 24th. This wonderful, sensitive, loving, caring, sweet, and innocent little boy whom we are so blessed to be able to call 'son'.

He was always happy. I'm a little biased, but he was the most beautiful baby EVER.

Gabriel was so wonderful, so easy, SO perfect, that only a short ten months into his life, as soon as it was possible, we couldn't wait to have another baby. He was, and still is, a wonderful big brother.

He loved his little sister, and was so proud to be a big brother, even at a mere 20 months old himself.

Gabriel has always worn his heart on his sleeve and been very sociable. Everyone at the playground was his new best friend, and to this day he still can't fathom why some kids just aren't nice and don't want to play with him.

Look at that sweet face, not a mean bone in his body.

Gabriel was, and still is, a momma's boy. And a Daddy's boy. He loves us. He really, truly, loves us very much and cares deeply about  our wishes. 

I just can't get over the fact that my little boy is already done with his first decade of life. My little boy! MY Gabriel! I have less than a decade left with him to mold him into the wonderful adult that I know he will be, since he is already more than half way there. That's crazy talk! 

We're talking about THIS little boy:

No, no. Not that one, he's too old. I meant this one:

Or even this one:


I don't know who this is. This is just some older child with two digits in his age that lives in my house. 

And he just started his training to be the altar server for the Latin Mass. And he is excited about it. EXCITED! It is so much hard work, what he's about to learn, seeing as how we have gone to Latin Mass exactly ZERO times. He has no clue, really, how much work this is going to be. I think he's going to do great, and I couldn't be more proud. 

But still, we can't possibly be talking about the same child, the priest and I, since he asked for Gabriel the ten year old.

And this is my little boy. Clearly not yet Altar Server material.

I'm going to go sob into some whine now, and look at more old pictures. Sometimes I do that, thankfully not often.

For more Quick Takes, go see Jen!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Quick Takes: Preparing Your Home for a Long Trip

We just returned not twenty-four hours ago from the longest trip we have ever taken. Longest in the miles in which we traveled, and longest in the time in which we were gone, which happens to have been eight days.

In case you were wondering, it takes a family of seven approximately two days to drive from northern to southern California if you stop for basic needs and sleep in between once you reach the daily limit for time in a car with small children.

It was fun, we saw family, we experienced living in an oven for a week (which we missed EVER so much!), my brother-in-law got married, we came home. My kids got a bonus car tour of California's highlights down the valley and back up the coast, in addition to an unending supply of chocolate cereal, candy, soda, and various other junk food. Definitely a win for the kids on this trip.

While there is much to be said about the experience of a long road trip with a large family, I think the major points have already been covered by Cari, and better than myself.

What I want to talk about is how to prepare your home for you to be gone for more than a few days. Some of the items on the list are things I already knew to do, but other things I have added upon my observations after coming home last   night  four days ago (yep, that's how long this took me and that's how my week has been). This is just as much for me, as it is for you. Although it will be a really long time before we go anywhere further than downtown, at this point. It is SO good to be home!

Preparing your home when you are leaving for a long trip:

1. This should go without saying, but be sure to empty all of your trash cans right before you leave. Sometimes, this is good enough, but after whiffing the audaciousness coming from my empty kitchen can when I got home last night I would go one step further and spray every can down with a disinfectant and leave the can open while you are gone. "Bleechy clean" beats "festering diaper odor" any day.

2. Strip down all your mattresses (specifically kid's beds that have been blessed with pee) and let them air out while you are gone. Bonus step: Spray them liberally with febreeze or other deodorizer. Make sure you have clean sheets to make the beds right away when you get back, since you will probably arrive home right past bed time with two-three sleeping children who will promptly pee on your freshly deodorized mattresses.

3. Put something in the freezer for breakfast the first morning and dinner the first night back. You will be glad you did, since you are going to have to get rid of all that perishable stuff in your fridge that can't sit there for more than a week like milk, eggs, meat, leftovers. And this takes me to my next pointer....

4. You may as well get that fridge cleaned out while you're at it!

5. Try to get all the laundry washed before you go, or at least anything that is smelly and damp, because it will only get worse with each passing day and you DON'T want to come home to that stink. Make sure you leave your washing machine open to dry out while you are away so it doesn't start to smell. The same goes for your toilets; clean and open to avoid any funk.

6. Put a hold on your mail, or have a neighbor pick it up for you. The same goes for any deliveries you have like the newspaper. You especially don't want to make it obvious that you are gone for anyone ill-intentioned passing by.

7. The last thing to do before you walk out at that door, and make sure YOU are the last one to walk out the door, is turn off all the lights except the front porch light, make sure all computers, thermostats, coffee machines, alarm clocks, and basically anything else on auto is turned off, then check all the doors.

Now walk out that door, get in your car, and don't look back!*

*any egregious omission of something obvious is due to exhaustion from said trip, beer, and potato chips. Heed my advice at your own risk.

See Jen for other Quick Takes that probably put mine to shame.